Battle for the Punchbowl: The U. S. 1st Marine Division 1951 Fall Offensive of the Korean War

north of the Punchbowl on the other, showed the far greater effectiveness (if the
traditional goal of war, to force the enemy to submit to one's will, was maintained) of the
amphibious turning movement and assault inland from the sea over the rigorous frontal
assault through the mountains far away from the sea.52
The Marines had had to fight like an Army Division and had done so very well.
They were out of range of NGF until September 23 when the lines had extended far
enough east in the division sector that it could be brought to bear. Nevertheless, the sea
was still 20 miles off.53
While Marines did foresee the fact that their forces might very well be used in land
campaigns in their thinking before the war, the view after the campaigns of 1951
regarded this as a very serious possibility, even a probability. To that end, the U. S.
Pacific Fleet and the Marine Corps examined the organization and performance of the
1st Mar Div in Korea. Several shortcomings were observed in the division for operations
in extended land campaigns, but these were mostly in the area of too little organic motor
transport and too little material and supply in communications sections.
Nevertheless, the Marines still preferred amphibious operations as its best
potential contribution to a war whether it be a limited or "all-out" war. The campaigns of
1951 and the manner in which the Marines were utilized in them, led to further
emphasis by the Navy and Marine Corps on how Marines should be employed in war:
52 It might be said by some here that the Marines and Navy were against MacArthur's Inchon plan. This is
not the case at all. The Marines and Navy were all for an amphibious hook as MacArthur envisioned it,
they did, however, disagree with the location being Inchon, arguing on very sound doctrinal principles for
a location just south of the city, which presented a better amphibious landing location. And always after
Inchon, the Marines and Navy pushed for another such amphibious hook. It should also be remembered
that at Okinawa, the Marines and Navy were for an amphibious end-run around the Japanese main line of
resistance, when it was encountered, to take them in the rear, but this decision was overruled by the
Army who preferred to slug it out in frontal assaults along the land mass.
53 stMar Div, "Historical Diary," September 1951, 4.


Montandon, Joshua W. Battle for the Punchbowl: The U. S. 1st Marine Division 1951 Fall Offensive of the Korean War. Denton, Texas. UNT Digital Library. Accessed July 12, 2014.